Bike computers are inherently designed for functionality, which means they don’t have to be an entertainment center. Plus, they aren’t produced as massively as their counterparts, the smartwatch.
The lack of a large mass scale does not allow making the product super-technological, both in the technical sense and in the sense of software. It’s no secret that even the ability to control music, for example, from the screen of a smartwatch, requires a ton of software code.
The main positive point of the cycling computer is the large screen, which is always in front of your eyes. I won’t argue, smart watches are also hung on the steering wheel. But the size of the screen, the readability of the symbols on these points, bike computers are far ahead.
Best Smartwatch for cyclists
However, the best smartwatch is much more mobile and versatile, they can accompany you wherever you are (running, swimming, cycling, sleeping and other activities or not).
At the same time, the watch will give out more information about the state of health, since, again, it will accompany you absolutely everywhere.
Their relevance is growing along with technical progress, the developers do not forget about deepening into the cycling theme. So it’s time for us to turn our attention to interesting models of smart watches that could satisfy our cycling needs.
Best Smartwatch Apple Watch 6
Available in two sizes, 40 or 44mm, and in a variety of case materials and colours, it starts at 429 € in aluminium. Our test watch is in 44mm graphite stainless steel costing 529 €.
It requires an iPhone and cannot be used with Android.
The Series 6 follows the excellent Series 5 from 2019, which introduced an always-on display cementing the Apple Watch at the top of a pile and making it a very difficult act to follow.
The new watch is essentially the Series 5 with a new blood oxygen saturation sensor on the back – more on that later. It also has a faster chip and a screen that is 2.5x brighter when in the “always-on” ambient mode, which is particularly noticeable outdoors.
Smartwatch Suunto 9
Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels | Touch screen: yes | Working time with GPS: 25 hours
+ Up to 120 hours of work in energy saving mode
+ Predicted work time in a specific activity mode
– Difficulties with synchronizing workouts
The creators of Suunto have studied user complaints about smartwatches and have devoted all their efforts to fixing these problems.
They were engaged in this business until then, until they created new problems. Overdid it. Nevertheless, choosing the type of activity (there are 80 of them), the computer calculates the battery charge and informs about the possible operating time in the selected mode. Conveniently? Conveniently!
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The large screen allowed the GPS antenna to be placed directly underneath, rather than in the strap like some other models. The navigation module works with satellite systems GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZZS.
It arrived by satellites, but by communication protocols, on the contrary, only Bluetooth is supported, which, however, will connect most modern bicycle equipment. The heart rate monitor and barometric altimeter are, of course, present.
Long battery life is achieved through the use of accelerometer, gyroscope and compass for navigation in between GPS signals, lack of synchronization with some third-party applications.
Smartwatch Garmin Forerunner 945
Resolution: 240 x 240 pixels | Touch screen: no | Working time with GPS: 36 hours
+ Full color maps
+ ClimbPro availability
+ Pulse Ox sensor
– Lower navigation accuracy
– High cost
Forerunner 945 uses the Fenix 5 Plus platform enclosed not in a metal, but in a plastic case. The ability to manage music and make contactless payments has also been added.
On board, like Fenix, there is ANT +, Bluetooth and WiFi communication modules. In addition, there is the new ClimbPro app for altitude acclimatization and heat acclimatization features introduced in the Edge 530 and 830 series cycling computers.
Heart rate and blood oxygen saturation are monitored by HR Elevate and Pulse OX sensors. And the price is much lower.
Best Smartwatch for pro cyclists Garmin Fenix 6
Resolution: 260 x 260 pixels | Touch screen: no | Working time with GPS: 36 hours
+ The menu is familiar to cyclists using Garmin bike computers
+ 36 hours of work with GPS and 72 hours in economy mode with GPS
– No sensors included
Garmin’s fifth iteration of smartwatches came out at number 6. Don’t be confused, series number 4 has been skipped. Well, this is the same as the iPhone 9. The company currently presents three series: 6, S and X, each of which has Standard, Pro and Pro Sapphire versions. We will focus on the Fenix 6 Pro version.
The larger display, when compared to its predecessor, is framed by a slimmer and sleeker bezel, which makes the watch less bulky and intrusive on the wrist.
Inside, the watch contains a navigation system compatible with GPS, GLONASS and Galileo, a barometric altimeter and a three-axis electronic compass.
The bottom cover houses the Garmin’s Elevate heart rate monitor with Pulse Oximetry sensor. The latter is able to determine blood oxygen saturation and measure the pulse. That is, in fact, there are two heart rate monitors inside.
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In addition, the watch supports ANT +, Bluetooth and WiFi communication protocols, which tells us that it can connect to a full range of cycling equipment, from a wireless speed and cadence meter to a power meter.
STRAVA compatibility is of course on site, as is the TrainingPeaks app. Needless to say, the functionality of the device is not limited by our little text about them.
Best Smartwatch on budget Fitbit Ionic
Resolution: 348 x 250 pixels | Touch screen: yes | Working time with GPS: 10 hours
+ Appearance, several body color options are available
+ FitBit app and its own ecosystem
– Does not support connecting external sensors
Well, yes, okay, a worthy opponent. Although it is impossible to connect speed sensors, cadence sensors and power meters to this smart watch, they work only 10 hours in navigation mode, but sleep is monitored perfectly, notifications come, signal a low battery, synchronization with STRAVA via FitBit’s own app.